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Economic Report: U.S. construction spending inches up in March

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Spending on construction projects rose 0.2% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.51 trillion, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal has expected a 1.8% gain.

This is the second straight month where construction spending was below estimates. Spending in February was revised to a decline of 0.6% from the initial estimate of a 0.8% drop, pulled down by severe winter weather in much of the country.

Private construction spending rose 0.7% in March while spending on public construction projects fell 1.5%. Residential construction rose 1.7%. Spending on highways and other nonresidential sectors fell 0.9%.

Over the past year, construction spending is up 5.3%.

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opened sharply higher on Monday on optimism about the U.S. economic outlook.

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